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Twelve fire engines and around 80 firefighters were called to a fire at a primary school on Hewett Road in Dagenham this morning.
A large part of the single-storey building has been damaged by fire. There are no reports of injuries.
Station Manager Rod Wainwright, who was at the scene, said: “Flames could be seen from some distance away and crews were faced with a serious blaze when they arrived on the scene.
"They worked very hard to bring the fire under control but given the intensity of the fire, there is unfortunately significant damage to the school.
“It is unfortunate timing that this fire has occurred just before the start of term.
“It is too soon to speculate on the cause of the fire but as soon as they’re able to, fire investigators will enter the site to start their work.”
During the fire, firefighters removed a gas cylinder and cooled it down as cylinders can explode when exposed to heat.
The Brigade was called at 0450 and fire crews from Dagenham, Barking, Ilford and surrounding fire stations attended the incident.
The fire was under control by 0749 but firefighters remain at the scene to fully extinguish remaining pockets of fire. At 0900 there remained eight fire engines on site and it is likely that firefighters will be there for the rest of the day.
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental due to hot works being carried out.